The TAC has provided us with the results of a new study.
Before I tell you about the study I want you to guess the answer to this question.
Do a person’s previous health issues (especially involving mental illness or drug or alcohol use) reduce their chances of a good recovery from an accident? If you answered yes you are on the money. Here is another blinding glimpse of the obvious.
This new study has shown how pre-accident health can impact a person’s recovery from a transport accident. By linking pre- and post-accident data, researchers at the Monash University Accident Research Centre have revealed fascinating insights into the factors that contribute to a person’s recovery.
Led by Dr Janneke Berecki-Gisolf and Dr Trevor Allen, the project looked at TAC clients’ physical and mental health service use and health service needs before and after their transport accident.
“A better understanding of what’s going on with someone’s health before the crash [will] help to understand why some people recover more quickly than others,” said Dr Berecki-Gisolf. “So to find out about someone’s health before the crash, rather than ask them, we did a data linkage study which actually shows patterns of health before and how that relates to recovery.”
In one section of the project, the researchers looked at hospital admissions data to discover how someone’s pre-accident health might affect recovery outcomes. This showed that pre-existing chronic pain was common and associated with a range of adverse post-accident outcomes. Those TAC clients who then had a delayed recovery experienced a subsequent onset of chronic conditions such as hypertension and depression.
The researchers also analysed Victorian records of mental health service and alcohol and drug treatment. They looked at the overall use of these services before and after the transport injury, as well as associations between mental health and drug and alcohol related issues and claim outcomes. This showed that pre-accident use of these services was significantly associated with more complex claims and delayed return to work.
Sponsored by the TAC through the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research, the project will help the TAC more effectively identify clients who may be at risk and provide additional services to achieve better outcomes.